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Home Forums General Discussion Human Powered Electricity for Off-Grid Living

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    Getting electricity to your off-grid place is probably one of the most challenging things you will encounter when attempting to live a self-sustaining independent life. Let’s face it for a lot of people solar panels cost too much money, they don’t have running water on their property, propane and kerosene cost money and wind power is not reliable so what is an off-gridder to do? Well, one thing we have plenty of in this country is human power or …CALORIES!


    LOL well im pretty fit for an older fart and i can tell you pedal power

    is and has only limited used for an off grid scenario.

    for travel sure or for direct mechanical conversion of energy like in the form

    of tredle operated sewing machine or grind stone great

    but to convert human power to electrical and store it is very VERY inefficient

    and while that would be ok for very low power needs like a couple of led lights

    or a radio its not a serious addition to your average offgriders power needs.

    with the enviroment im living in and the work i have been doing im having trouble keeping weight on let alone peddling for another couple of hours a night to watch 20 minutes of a movie (for example)


    Buy wind up flashlights and use that as your lights in your house also buy a wind up radio. Then see how much energy after a hard days work they take to power for the whole evening. Then try to imagine how much work on top of all them it would take to power all the other appliances you own or power tools like a drill ?


    For a better understanding of what is and is not practical in pedal powered applications look at the series of articles in Low tech magazine.

    There are more articles on the subject aside from the one in the link.

    Another informative article is the coverage on gossamer condor, the human powered flight across the english channel. Even a superbly fit and accomplished athelete had troubles sustaining such mucle effort for prolonged periods.


    A more in-depth article on the subject Brie posted can be found here:

    In addition better and more efficient approaches for pedal power are offered

    in this series of articles. Pedal power is good but lets make the best use of it.

    Some of these gadgets are little better than yuppie toys while others look crude while being far better and more effective.

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